After all this time, the big day is almost here! It’s approximately 48 hours until I cross the finish line of the Racine 70.3 Ironman. Ok, well maybe 49. People have asked me over the past few days how I’m feeling. If I’m ready. Etc, etc. I know I’m ready. My brain just has to tell my stomach and my nerves that I am. I know I am. I have dedicated myself to my training since March. I’ve swam the entire distance, biked 6 miles short of the entire distance and my longest run was 11 of the 13 miles. So I know physically I can pull this off. Is it going to be easy? Nope. I’ve biked in extreme wind and rain. I’ve biked more hills than I care to remember. I’ve ran in all types of environments. While in Door County, I even got a chance to train in the waves, just in case!!
But I’ve held on to a few different phrases during this training. First and foremost. B.Strong. I wear my bracelet everyday and look at it quite frequently. It reminds me that I can do this and why I’m doing it. Second. “Slow your breathing down!!!” A lot of people that compete in triathlons have a “coach”. They hire someone to specifically train them in this sport. They work on technique, are given workouts and nutrition plans. There aren’t any tri coaches around here that I know and I certainly don’t have the money to “hire” a tri coach. That’s not what I’m in this for. But I have a coach. My coach is my trainer Justin. He may not be a “triathlete” and show me all the latest biking techniques or stroke development, but he provides me with so much more. He believes in me, encourages me and pushes me harder than anyone else can. He has trained me physically and, more importantly, mentally for this journey. And third “Let your faith be bigger than your fear”. My good friend Megan always reminds me of that when I tell her I’m scared to fly down a hill on my bike. I still let my fear win out on big hills like that, but I think to this phrase often and know I will be on Sunday too. In fact B.Strong, “Slow your breathing down!!!”, and Let your faith be bigger than your fear will be written on my hands/arm on Sunday as a constant reminder to keep going.
The anticipation of this day is building and building and building. I have several friends traveling to Racine to cheer me on. I’ve been busy getting shirt orders delivered, last minute checks on my bike, and going over my packing list meticulously. I actually just want to get started!! I’m excited to do this. I’m nervous about the things I cannot control like the predicted possible rain/storms and horrific humidity, but they are going to be there regardless of my worry, so I’m trying to put all that in the back of my head.
Joe, Ashley and I will be meeting in Madison tomorrow (Saturday) at 8am, where I will leave my car and travel the rest of the way with them. Joe and I have a busy day, heading to the Ironman Village and checking out the expo, attending an athlete debriefing, checking our bikes out and getting a lay of the land. We will take a practice swim in Lake Michigan as well and probably drive some of the biking route to get acclimated. Shane and the boys have a wedding to attend and then will head to Racine later tomorrow. A group of us will be eating at the Olive Garden tomorrow night and then I’ll hopefully be able to get some sleep. Sleep has alluded me the past couple of nights. I’ve tossed and turned and my stomach just doesn’t feel quite right. I know it’s anticipation. I know it’s nerves. I’m hoping that once I’m there, in the thick of it all, that all of the nervousness subsides and I can enjoy the experience.
I pray for good weather, not only for Joe, me and the other athletes, but also for all the people traveling to watch. I want them to have fun and enjoy the experience too. I’m excited to be an Ironman finisher! I’m excited to see all my friends and family at the finish line. I’m excited to do this in honor and memory of a special little boy gone way to soon. I hope through this journey Joe and I have helped bring awareness to Krabbe Disease and I look forward to helping Jenna put together a memorial 5K sometime in the near future.
AJ Gates from the newspaper called me yesterday and told me he was putting together a story about this journey. When he asked me about why I do events in memory/honor of others (I ran a marathon 2 years ago in memory of Clint, I do 3Day walks in honor/memory of people and other events as well), I told him it’s because it’s something small that I can do to help honor the life of people and keep their memory alive. It’s important. I never got the chance to meet Bryce, but I can honor his memory and if it brings even the slightest bit of comfort and hope to his special family who are near and dear to my heart, it makes it all worth it.